Palaeoenvironmental implications of palygorskite clays in Eocene deep-water sediments from the western Central Atlantic
Thomas Pletsch, 2001. "Palaeoenvironmental implications of palygorskite clays in Eocene deep-water sediments from the western Central Atlantic", Western North Atlantic Palaeogene and Cretaceous Palaeoceanography, Dick Kroon, R. D. Norris, A. Klaus
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Clay mineral analyses were performed on Eocene sediments from drill sites in the western Central Atlantic. The investigated sites cover the full range of early Palaeogene deep waters above and below the calcite compensation depth (CCD), but otherwise represent different depositional and hydrographic regimes. Palygorskite clays with authigenic microstructures were discovered in Lower Eocene hemipelagic sediments from the distal end of the Blake Nose depth transect and in pelagic clays of the same age from the distal Nares Abyssal Plain, where terrigenous input was reduced. Palygorskite clays were not detected in coeval sediments from a distal near-CCD setting on Bermuda Rise that received major terrigenous input. The distribution of palygorskite clays at these sites, the microstructures of the constituent minerals, their absence from contemporaneous deposits on the American margin, and the position of the northerly sites outside the range of a potential African aeolian supply strongly suggest an authigenic origin of these clays at the early Eocene sea floor. Palygorskite clays are widely distributed in lower Eocene sediments from about 50° N to 50° S palaeolatitude. The most widespread distributions and peak abundances in Atlantic oceanic sediments are reported from shelf to deep-water sites of the palaeo-tropical and -subtropical belt and correlate with the Early Eocene period of extreme warmth. Marine authigenic palygorskite clay may provide an indication of the localities and the time periods that were characterized by high bottom-water temperatures, by elevated alkalinity, silica and magnesium concentrations, and by reduced sediment accumulation rates.
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Palaeogene and Cretaceous palaeoceanography has been the focus of intense international interest in the last few years, spurred by deep ocean drilling at Blake Nose in the North Atlantic as well as the need to use past climate change as input for modelling future climate change. This book brings together a number of review papers that describe ancient oceans and unique events in the Earth’s climatic history and evolution of biota. The papers show evidence of periods characterized by exceptional global warmth such as the Late Palaeocene Thermal Maximum and Cretaceous anoxic events. Geochemical records and modelling will make the reader aware that these periods were forced by greenhouse gases. This information is essential for understanding the response of the ocean—climate system to the current input of fossil fuels. In this sense, the book contributes to the understanding of fundamental aspects of Earth’s climate, the carbon cycle, and marine ecosystems. A number of papers describe massive mass wasting deposits resulting from the energy released by the bolide impact at the Cretaceous—Tertiary boundary as well as the geochemistry of the boundary itself. Additional papers cover aspects of cyclostratigraphy and biostratigraphy of Palaeogene and Cretaceous records.
This book will be of interest to a broad audience of Earth Scientists interested in Palaeogene—Cretaceous palaeoceanography, extreme climate modelling, Cretaceous—Tertiary boundary, Late Palaeocene Thermal Maximum, Cretaceous anoxic events, as well as those specifically interested in radiolarian, dinoflagellate and coccolithophorid stratigraphy.